Twelve Things You Should Know About the 2019 Belmont Stakes

Belmont Park
Eclipse Sportswire

There’s no Triple Crown on the line in this year’s Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets, but the race still promises to be a competitive showdown among some of the top 3-year-olds in the country, headed by Preakness Stakes winner War of Will.

Read on for 12 fun facts about Saturday’s race at Belmont Park.

1. The Belmont Stakes is the longest of the three Triple Crown races as well as the oldest. It’s contested at 1 ½ miles and was first held in 1867. This year is the 151st running, compared with the 145th Derby and 144th Preakness.

War of Will with Casse and Gaffalione after the Preakness
War of Will with Casse and Gaffalione after the Preakness (Eclipse Sportswire)

2. This year will be the first time top trainer Mark Casse has started a horse in the race, and he’ll have two: Preakness winner War of Will and Peter Pan Stakes runner-up Sir Winston.

3. Historically, the betting favorite has won the Belmont Stakes 42 percent of the time (63 of 150 runnings) but just three of the last 15 editions featured winning favorites: Justify (2018), American Pharoah (2015) and Afleet Alex (2005).

4. Triple Crown winners own the two largest winning margins in the Belmont. Secretariat won by 31 lengths in 1973 and Count Fleet won by 25 lengths 30 years prior.

5. War of Will could become just the 12th horse to have lost the Kentucky Derby and then gone on to win the Preakness and Belmont if he wins on Saturday.

6. Tapit has sired (fathered) three of the last five Belmont Stakes winners: Tapwrit (2017), Creator (2016), and Tonalist (2014). This year he has Bourbon WarIntrepid Heart, and Tacitus in the race.

7. Owner Juddmonte Farms has raced three horses in the Belmont Stakes and never finished worse than third, including a win with Empire Maker in 2003. This year Tacitus will race in the Juddmonte colors.

8. War of Will's jockey, Tyler Gaffalione, will be riding in his first-ever Belmont Stakes this Saturday.

9. The first Belmont Stakes featured a total purse of $2,500, with the filly Ruthless taking home the $1,850 winner’s share. This year’s race is worth $1.5 million including $800,000 for the winner.

10. Todd Pletcher has more wins in the Belmont than any other trainer in this year’s race, with three: filly Rags to Riches (2007), Palace Malice (2013), and Tapwrit (2017). This year he’s expected to enter both Intrepid Heart and Spinoff in the race.

11. At odds of 70-1, Sarava gave bettors the biggest win payout in the history of the Belmont. His 2002 win earned bettors $142.50 for every $2 bet.

12. Jockey Mike Smith has won the Belmont three times in the last nine runnings: 2010 with Drosselmeyer, 2013 aboard Palace Malice, and 2018 on Justify. This year he’ll ride Bourbon War.

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